Ananya Ghosh, 29
Application Development Engineer, Foster Corp.
Ananya Ghosh ended up in the plastics industry by accident.
Born in Kolkata, India, Ghosh studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate and "had the vision to solve the pollution problems, which is one of the biggest issues in India." Her first job was with a clean water solutions company that dealt with plastic piping.
"There was no turning back since then," she said.
Ghosh is the first engineer in her family and the first one to move abroad for higher studies. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a master's degree in plastics engineering.
She has held titles such as technical key account assistant at Agru Plastic Technology Pvt. Ltd., product technology intern at Braskem, advanced manufacturing engineer intern at Medtronic, and research and development engineer at PolyOne Corp./Geon Performance Solutions. She has been an application development engineer for Putnam, Conn.-based materials supplier Foster Corp. since August 2020.
Working in manufacturing, Ghosh said the biggest challenge with the pandemic has been working from home when the job is the "on-floor kind."
"I have been fortunate to be in the health care space, where the demand and business during the pandemic have not been affected negatively to an extent that the nonmedical manufacturing industry has faced, but that also meant going into work when cases had been skyrocketing," she said.
Ghosh is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers' Young Professionals committee and the medical plastics division's communications team.
"As a part of SPE NGAB [Next Generation Advisory Board], we focus on mentoring students and professionals in the plastics industry by organizing resume writing, practice interview workshops, organizing industry-specific webinars, visiting student chapters, assisting SPE divisions by volunteering in events in SPE conferences," she said. "In 2021, I started volunteering in the medical plastics division and actively participating in their communications team. My job involves developing formulation and products for new applications in medical device manufacturing/ industry."
Ghosh was nominated by Jimmy Shah, senior research and development engineer at Impact Plastics.
"I believe there are no failures in life, only learnings. The only people who fail are the ones who tried, and those who tried are the ones who learned," Ghosh said. "Failure and learning go hand in hand. So, every failure in my life has only taught me to try harder and differently next time."
Q: What is your philosophy related to plastics and sustainability? What steps have you taken to improve plastics' sustainability, either in work, your community or personal life?
Ghosh: I am a part of a generation that is experiencing the effects of environmental abuse firsthand in terms of global warming. We say sustainability begins at the individual level. This is true; I agree that we all need to be more conscious and reuse and reduce, but at the same time as an industry we need to take bigger steps to initiate this consciousness on a larger scale. Just like being ethical in business has long-term gains so does sustainability. Companies need to take the more expensive route of opting for sustainable raw materials, processes over existing less sustainable cheaper technologies to remain in business in the longer run.
I personally focus on small, everyday things like carrying reusable shopping bags while visiting grocery stores, using a reusable water bottle at work to drink water instead of using a disposable cup, opting for renewable sources of raw materials for the formulation of polymer compounds whenever I have the opportunity to do so.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Ghosh: I would encourage my employees to build healthy recreational habits, allocate some time in the day for fun team activities, and implement a more flexible work culture.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Ghosh: I work in the health care space, and one of the technologies that interest me the most is 3D printable polymer materials. I see a trend towards the demand for more custom products not only in the health care space but industrywide. The convenience of making these parts for small-quantity requirements using 3D printers is another reason why there is tremendous growth and need in this sector.